ROMANISED will head to Paris this weekend and hopefully continue a brilliant run of form for Ballyhea trainer Ken Condon.
The former Irish 2000 Guineas winner failed to fire on extremely testing conditions at Deauville recently, but he looks set for some high profile targets this Autumn.
Condon’s charge was narrowly denied by the Aidan O’Brien-trained Circus Maximus in this Group One contest last season and is set to return to France in a bid to avenge that very narrow defeat.
Brilliant French jockey Oliver Peslier will take over from Billy Lee, who will remain in Ireland to ensure he does not need to go into quarantine and potentially miss out on riding on Longines Irish Champions Weekend.
Condon said: “Romanised is heading for the Prix du Moulin this weekend. He did his last bit of work midweek and that went very smoothly.
"His blood tests are excellent and his scope was good, so he’s good to go. Olivier Peslier is going to take the ride.
"This horse needs to be ridden in a certain way. His strongest attribute is his turn of foot and we’ve got a very good man on our side. He’ll fly out Saturday.
"The ground is the most important factor and it looks like we should get good ground or on the quick side.
"He’s in good shape and we’re looking forward to it.”
This will be a tough task as Pinatubo is also taking part and looked back to his best after winning at Deauville recently.
Charlie Appleby’s stable star was last season’s leading juvenile with six consecutive victories including at Group 1 level.
However, he could only finish third behind Kameko in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket before getting back to winning ways. He’ll be a tough nut to crack but on good ground Romanised will have a major shout.
Condon is enjoying his highest profile season ever with a terrific run with his two- year-olds.
It is such an exciting time of the year with all the Group 1 races for Juveniles in the coming weeks while stable favourite Ice Cold In Alex will be desperately hoping for good ground next weekend.
Condon said: “We’re all very fond of Ice Cold In Alex. He wears his heart on his sleeve and always gives his best, and I suppose he’s a victim of his own consistency.
"He’s in rare form and looks a picture. If he gets in, he just needs top of the ground to be seen at his best — he never lets you down.
“Teresa Mendoza was very impressive the first time at the Curragh. She ran the other day as a short-priced favourite, and the ground was particularly testing, and maybe she ended up upsides in front sooner than you’d like.
"To her credit, she battled away well, and I think back on more reasonable ground over seven furlongs in the Moyglare could be fine.
"She’s a very promising, talented filly — and I think we’ll see an improved performance the next day. We like her a lot.”
The Irish Champions Stakes is the highlight of the flat season and takes place next weekend at Leopardstown.
There are plenty of star names in the entries including Ghaiyyath but he may decide to run in the English equivalent in a few weeks’ time.
One likely runner is the Jessica Harrington trained filly Alpine Star who has been superb all season. Harrington says: "Plans can obviously change but at the moment we're looking at running her in the Irish Champion Stakes.
"She's been in great form since her run in Deauville, I'm delighted with her. At the moment that's her number one target."
The Listowel Festival is only a couple of weeks away and is generally regarded as the start of the new national hunt season.
Jockey Jack Kennedy has had a torrid time with injuries but is relishing getting back for his boss Gordon Elliot who has an army of high class horses.
Kennedy said: "I'm almost certain I'll be back for Listowel. Paddy Kenny [surgeon] is very happy with my progress over the last few weeks and I'm meeting him again next Tuesday.
"I've been back riding out at Gordon's for almost three weeks now and it's great to be back in the swing of things. I was a bit rusty at the start when I came back, but I'm getting my eye back in now.
"It's just an unbelievable team of horses, I would definitely say it's the best bunch he's had going into a season.
"There's Delta Work and Easywork, Samcro and Abacadabras and loads, loads more. I would be here all day if I went through all the ones I'm looking forward to riding.
"It was a strange feeling when Samcro won at Cheltenham. I was over the moon for everyone but obviously, deep down, I was disappointed I wasn't on his back.
"He's a horse that has always got plenty of stick so I was thrilled to see him go and do it again on the biggest stage.
"He's a dual Cheltenham Festival winner now and you can't take that away from him. He'll stay three miles no bother.
"The fact you can put him anywhere in a race will be a big help and he's just so laid back. I hope he's in for another big season.
"All this rain in recent weeks means plenty of the bigger names have been working away. Everyone is just excited about getting going. "